There’s a sense of detachment to be found in people who deal with the deceased. Life, though, is not without its upheavals as long as one remains within its bounds. So how do you deal with the application of a spicy story to such resigned protagonists? Enter, Ms. Funkhauser with her masterpiece.
To put things in perspective, let us consider a phone call to a funeral house early in the story. It begins with the line: “This is Werner Heuer, Herr Forsythe. My wife and I have need of your services today. My son is dead.” Now consider the sentiment of Mr. Forsythe on the other end, depicted a few lines later: Charlie, calculating profit after disbursements, felt better already.
The author’s mastery begins with the very element she chooses to play with to pacify the contrast in her story - time. She opens the door at the universally agonizing hour of 9 AM on a Monday, then begins to step back, before we’re suddenly flung back to Day One: Postmortem - 15 minutes on. The only constant from then on is subtle versions of time-swing that soaks us in.
It is fascinating to watch people on two sides of a wall - oblivious to each other and looking at the same thing in an entirely different way - talk to each other but not listen. This is especially so when that wall is the border between life and after-life. In the story, we have Enid on one side, who loses someone once important to her - Heuer - without a chance to say a final goodbye. On the other side, we have Heuer whose story, and in some way, life itself unfolds after his death. As I recently expressed to the author in an interview, in a single stroke she introduces us to both our greatest fear and our greatest wish. And as she had then clarified, the very idea leads to the conclusion that there is no first or second chance, nor is there a wall. Everything we experience in the pages of time is in continuum.
A. B. Funkhauser likes to play with her narration. She liberally uses non-English phrases, alternates between classy and backstreet lingo, and most pleasingly, embeds past conversations in between the current ones. This fusion aids the above idea. But perhaps the most moving of moments comes when the dead asks God to prove His existence and has his prayers answered almost immediately, at which he frolics, “Yes ! Yes! There is a god!” That joy establishes the fickle unending of our quest for purpose.
The author compels us to make peace with a whole lot of commotion. For, in narrating the psyche of the deceased, she makes us face a choice - to use the time we have in peaceful altruism, or to burn ourselves out in constant churn of tit-for-tat scheming, which will not end even after we die. So from a Bastard’s indifferent generosity, to a Rat’s unconditional love, to an inanimate after-life existence in a Lamp, her message to us is beautifully laid out. As she states, beauty and elegance is not always spotted or even appreciated even when it’s right in front of your face.
A. B. Funkhauser's ultimate directive can be summed up in one word: Live. But it takes her book to understand how.
The author'z happy. Zhe'z buzy. And zhe haz opened up about her next novel...
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Grab your copy of Curse of the Purple Delhi Sapphire NOW.
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Sophia Marcil hasn’t escaped her destiny or the mad-man hunting her but she’s doing her best to evade both and making a life in Ireland with Cullen—the one person she can count on to pull her out of deep water. There’s just one problem, despite his connection, she hasn’t told him the truth of her time travel and her reality comes crashing down as he proposes with the very sapphire that’s cursed her. Before she knows it, she’s wandering the hallway of an old Victorian house in the body of her great aunt. Unfortunately, her nemesis has also reincarnated in 1920—as one of her family members and she struggles to locate the Purple Delhi Sapphire in time to prevent the deaths of those she loves. When she fails and returns to her present-day life, she’s forced to confront the fact that her killer’s soul will always be tied to the sapphire and in every life she has, he will be resurrected as someone close to her. Her biggest question—who is he now? She doesn’t have to wonder for very long before she finds evidence that has her questioning everything she thought she knew.
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“Ms. Stapleton's, The Curse of the Purple Delhi Sapphire, is extraordinary! She brings us the story of Sophia Marcil, a quiet librarian, who has found love in this life but is haunted by and trying to break the trail of destruction and death that has haunted her through many lives. If you want a great mystery, enjoy the idea of time travel and/or like a wonderful romance - do not hesitate to delve into this one.” - Book Me Mel Paranormal Romance and Authors that Rock
“Plenty of twists, a sprinkle of humor and a whodunit with a surprising ending, Curse reminds me of great old story telling, but with a fresh and vital voice.” - Author A.B. Funkhauser
“Just barely surfacing from her dangerous travel into the 1800’s…Sophia has become part of a lethal adventure in the 1920’s. She is haunted by the same curse—the never-broken, deadly hunt for the possession of the Purple Delhi Sapphire, which has been plaguing her lifetimes over…Rachael writes in a way that is intriguing enough to keep the pages turning. Each scene segues into the next with new information, new conflicts, new prospects, new possibilities, new theories, and new revelations…In Rachael’s storytelling, there is never a dull moment. Her imagination is one of her greatest strengths as a writer.” - Lacey Crowe Best Book Reviews and Edits
“Twists, turns, great characters, and time travel ... what's not to love! This was a fantastic read! Can't wait for book 3!” - Author Marissa Campbell
Curse of the Purple Delhi Sapphire
A long forgotten corpse... Discovered by Bethany and Megan, the mummified body, located in a National Forest; brings FBI forensic specialist David Harrison to Riverview.
Bullets fly… And between bullets and a blizzard, Kam and David are forced to seek shelter and spend the night in an abandoned cabin where they discover evidence about the murder and another crime in Riverview.
As romance develops between the couple, they work to discover the connections. They find that crimes of the far distant past link to crimes of the recent past and even to crimes of the present. Soon the attempted assault against them leads to arson, extortion, blackmail, and finally an attempt on Kam’s life.
The women of Riverview - Bethany, Megan, Kam et al - are profiled with purpose. We’re not here to witness another vacuous expression of valor and sturdiness which, at the first fall and sight of blood, would give way to cute calls for rescue. No, the ladies know how to counter pain, know their horses and most importantly, know that the possession of such grit does not imply the disposal of femininity. Author Riley engraves this significant message in her writing in a very subtle way, as if she wishes for the readers to see it not as something boastful and extraordinary, but the exact opposite.
The story begins with an accidental discovery of skeletal remains of our former Mr. 1933. A teasing note from that time lends some weight to the speculative tragedy and gradually the investigations begin. Soon enough, the parties are hindered by visions as well as attempts at life by someone unknown. The latter works well to compound the mystery. As a detective notes, one begins to wonder how a decades-old murder can possibly affect people so far removed from the crime, timewise. And that is when the elusive tin can makes a re-appearance. It is a moment which lends a pleasing new twist to the tale - one that is best left untouched in this review.
There’s a fair bit of love for the “good old” throughout the story. I cannot possibly imagine enjoying a mouthful of good food with nothing but a “Crap, I will miss that machine” if my laptop were toasted! That is the fun part. The story offers an escape into the rugged, digitally detoxified world still populated with crackle of dry leaves, sticky wetness of mud, creaking cabin doors, and quite inevitably, sex. Even the lingual tone and details add to the tone. This, in fact, is the second big characteristic of Kasey’s storytelling, the unassuming girl power being the first.
The book is best read on a light evening with some charming music. It fills your seconds with a good pace and does enough to keep you at it. The effect is best described by one of the later scenes where a group is sitting together, enjoying some laughter, revelations, and nostalgic thoughts of “who’d have known...”
But lest I forget, there is also one idle instance that I particularly liked. For, in trying to express some harmless wit on an unrelated topic, the author exposes her idea of heroics, and consequently, her ulterior message in this story - a balance of courage and practicality. It comes when two of the protagonists are about to ride a horse:
The woman politely concurs: “If you have a brain to protect, you wear a helmet; otherwise you don’t need one.”
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